This week's gimmick is a brand new tournament concept brought to us by 888 Poker, combining sports betting with the traditional online poker tournament.
Anything that ups the gambling quotient of an online poker session is usually A-OK with us but we wanted to take a closer look. Read on for the details and to find out whether it's worth your time and money.
888poker Teams Tournaments Explained
The idea is pretty simple. Hold an online poker tournament that coincides with a major sporting event. Divide the tournament prize pool into two equal parts, one of which will be awarded according to a traditional payout structure and the other to the players who picked the winner of the sporting event.
We were a little slow on the uptake here so a few of these events have already passed. Three remain, outlined below.
Fri, Mar 18 @ 19:00 GMT - Ireland Vs. England (Six Nations) - Prizepool: $1,000 & 1st place gets a free seat in the Irish Poker Open Qualifier
Sat, Mar 26 @ 10:00 GMT (20:00 AEST) - Ferrari Vs. McLaren (F1) - Prize Pool: $2,500
Sat, Apr 02 @ 18:00 GMT - Cricket World Cup Final (TBC) - Prize Pool: $2,500
* Buy-ins for all Teams Tournaments are $0.88
As you can see from the buy-in level these tournaments fall squarely in the novelty category. If they prove popular, however, 888 won't hesitate to make things more interesting by raising the stakes.
Teams Tournaments Explored
A few points about this structure concern us and they have to do with the distribution of the sports betting component of the prize pool.
Because 50% of the prize pool is reserved for the players who pick the correct outcome of the sporting event, the individual sports payout is going to be a direct result of the distribution of the sports picks.
We predict that the distribution of picks will correlate somewhat to the money line on the event. That is to say, the favorite to win will recieve more picks than the underdog. By predicting the distribution of picks, and comparing it to the actual odds set by sports books, it will be possible to make the sports pick that gives you the most equity.
We assume that the distribution of sports picks within the Teams Tournament will not be made available during registration. If it was it would be hugely beneficial to wait until the last minute to see if there was a discrepancy between the odds and the distribution of picks.
For example, if one team was a favorite to win, but the majority of the field picked the underdog, you would gain a ton of equity by betting the actual favorite. Similarly, if a team was a slight favorite to win but received the vast majority of the picks, you'd gain much equity by betting on the underdog.
Since the actual distribution of picks won't be available the ability to predict that outcome will be hugely valuable.
In general terms the payout for the winning sports pick will be similar to a traditional min-cash. Let's look at some examples:
We'll assume that the correct number of players registered to hit the guarantee (2,841 players contribute $0.88 to build a $2,500 prize pool)
If the distribution of picks was 50/50, each winning sports pick would be awarded $0.88.
If 25% of the field picked the underdog in an event and the underdog won, the winning pick would double to $1.76.
So, as stated earlier, the edge to be gained in the sports betting component comes from the discrepancy between the actual odds of the event outcome and the distribution of picks within the Teams Tournament.
The Bottom Line
In its current state this concept should be a lot of fun. It's common for online sessions to be accompanied by prop and sports betting among groups of people playing together so why not incorporate it directly into the tournament.
Right now the stakes are so low that this event's primary value will be entertainment. However, if these tournaments were offered at higher stakes the ability to correctly predict the picks of the tournament field would become very profitable.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Click here to look at our 888 Poker review. Get all the information and decide whether Teams Tournaments are for you.